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Growth in Rural Broadband Uptake

Farmside Media Release

2 September 2008

 

Changing Consumer Behaviour Reflects Growth in Rural Broadband Uptake

Changing consumer behaviour in the rural services market is a reflection of steadily increasing rural broadband uptake, according to Nick Carter, sales and marketing director for rural broadband company Farmside.

“The Farmside customer base has grown 140% since January 2007.  With so many more rural people now on broadband, particularly satellite, the pull through to rural consumer behaviour is really starting to emerge,” he says.

Although still lagging behind urban areas (as identified in the recently released benchmark WIPNZ survey1), information from leading providers of internet based services does show a clear trend towards increasing internet use and confidence by rural people, says Mr Carter.

“Online travel bookings and searching for rural properties via the internet are just some areas showing particularly strong popularity growth in the rural sector,” he says.

Brent Thomas, director of sales for House of Travel agrees, commenting that a steadily growing number of rural consumers are using the internet to book travel online. 

“It’s time consuming to research travel options on an individual supplier basis, particularly for people who do not have fast or reliable internet access.  One of the reasons our site (www.houseoftravel.co.nz) is growing in popularity is the fact all of the airlines are represented, including the web based ones such as Pacific Blue,” he says. 

“But as more people in rural areas get broadband, a growing proportion of rural consumers are enjoying the convenience of booking through the internet, using online tools such as search and compare to check flight availability and special deals.
“Rural online travel bookings are starting to follow our national trends, where 55 percent of bookings are now made online, with 64 percent of these using a different airline each way.

“In particular, we have noticed strong growth recently in online bookings from rural areas such as the East Coast and Southern Lakes regions.”

Growing rural broadband uptake has also resulted in a shift of in behaviour in the rural property market, says Harcourts National Rural Manager Kim Shannon. 

“When dial-up internet was the only option for rural people, viewing properties online wasn’t a popular option,” he says. 

“That’s changing rapidly as we see more and more customers getting online with faster satellite or wireless internet access.

“At the Mystery Creek Fieldays recently for example, many customers arrived at our site already aware of our current rural listings, telling us they were now online and checking our website (www.harcourts.co.nz) for updates once or twice a week.”

Farmside’s Nick Carter says that the new Rocket Broadband initiative, which has reduced entry-level monthly pricing for satellite broadband to only $49.95 ex GST per month, has also had a major impact on rural broadband uptake. 

“Inbound enquiries and resulting sales figures for satellite broadband have never been higher,” he says.

1Source: The Internet in New Zealand 2007, Final Report, World Internet Project New Zealand, Institute of Culture, Discourse and Communication AUT University, July 2008.

===Ends===

 


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